You know all those sayings about the importance of first impressions? Welcome emails are kind of like that, except for your business. It is this pivotal moment in the customer journey where you get to make a great impression that influences everything that follows.
And just like real-life impressions, the key is to communicate enough of your value, without overdoing it. This means that you most definitely need to communicate why being on your list is a benefit. But at the same time, you need to keep the welcome email short. It should feel like a warm introduction, not a sales pitch.
While we could probably write an entire book on the subject of welcome emails, and we might just do that one day, for now we’ve decided to just make a list of our top best practices. This list is based not just on what is important, but also on my experience with helping Emercury users. By personally helping hundreds of customers better their email marketing, I have discovered there are certain crucial practices that get overlooked more than others.
The timing is crucial
Welcome emails can only do their job if they’re instantaneous. If you welcome someone hours or days after they sign-up, that’s actually worse than not welcoming them at all.
This is why you want to make sure that you’re using an email service which allows for the proper automation. With our straightforward automation builder, this is quite simple. Simply set a “send message” action and define your welcome email on there. By default this action will be performed instantly as the subscriber enters the automation.
In most cases you will want the automation to trigger when the person enters a certain list. This is true for new subscribers as well. You want a set-up that instantly adds new subscribers to the appropriate list. That then instantly triggers the appropriate automations.
Fortunately, with Emercury this is very easy. It doesn’t matter how you collect those email addresses, you can get people onto the appropriate list instantly.
This is true even if you use third party solutions for gathering those emails. Just be sure to check out the appropriate integration. Some examples include: Gravity Forms, Facebook Leads, Unbounce, Clickfunnels, Elementor and more.
And even if you don’t see your email collection tool in our integrations list, you can be certain that we can and will help you integrate it with Emercury. You just have to ask us.
You need to give the instruction
This is such a crucial point, and it’s so easy to implement. Yet this is the one thing that I see most people miss out on.
You want to give the new subscriber clear instructions about checking their inbox. Let’s say that you get their email address on a landing page. Make sure that the “thank you page” thanks them for their interest. But also, instruct them to look for the welcome email in their inbox.
It makes a huge difference in how many people actually open up that welcome email. A huge percentage of people actually sign up for something and do not check their inbox. By the time they do, the welcome email is already buried down in the archive of older emails. This is why giving them instructions to check their inbox right away will affect your bottom line in a major way.
Seems like easy and simple thing to implement right? It is easy to implement, and it’s also why I’m always surprised at how many people fail to use this “trick”.
Use this as an opportunity to improve deliverability
Since we’re in the line of giving instructions and the subscriber is following our command, why not use this opportunity to gain one more benefit. As you might or might not know, email deliverability is one of the most important factors in terms of how profitable email marketing can be for you.
And a huge contributing factor to your email deliverability will always be the number of people who’ve added you to their contacts list. Knowing these two facts, it’s only logical that you should be asking people to do this.
Just tell the subscriber to add you to their contact list once they find your welcome email in the inbox. You can do this by having one longer instruction on the landing page. For example telling them to “go find the welcome email and be sure to whitelist it”. Or you can prioritize the first instruction about checking their inbox, only subtly suggesting that they also can also whitelist it.
Personalize the email
Considering the fact that personalization is one of the first “fancy” techniques we came up with in Email Marketing, you would expect that everyone should use it. It’s been around since almost the start of email marketing, yet most people either underutilize it or don’t use it at all.
When you create an email with Emercury, personalization is easy. Simply use the personalization “merge tags” from the drop down menu in your email editor. You can for example use the person’s first name in the subject line or in the first sentence of the welcome email.
But it doesn’t stop there. Your choices are only limited by which data you gather for your subscribers and the associated merge tags. Aside from the predefined merge tags, you can simply go ahead and create your own. All you have to do is go to Assets > Fields Manager and you can define anything that’s relevant to your business.
Let’s make a very simple example and say that you have a newsletter, but you let people choose their main topic of interest in the sign up process. You would define a “topic” form field in the manager, and use this in the form so that you collect the right topic for each subscriber. Then in the welcome email you can thank them for joining, and their interest in “topic x”.
This is just a very simple example of what’s possible. If you’re clever, you can go pretty far in terms of personalizing the welcome email, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Offer actual value in the welcome email
The welcome email serves two main functions. The first is to get people used to seeing your brand in their inbox. The second, and perhaps more important one, is to leave a great first impression.
And do you know what’s the best way to leave an amazing first impression? Provide value and communicate that you intend to continue to provide value for as long as they’re a subscribed. An ideal welcome email should make the person feel glad that they subscribed and look forward to your next emails.
This is easier said than done, especially since your welcome email also needs to be brief and pleasant. Yet, at the same time it needs to achieve several major goals.
Some ideas about giving the subscriber instant value include:
- Give the reader an easy “get started” checklist.
- Share one of your most powerful tips, right there in the welcome email
- Link to a “quick and easy 2 minute walk through” video that answers their most important questions.
Have a backup option and automate it
Optimism can be a good trait in life, but in business it helps to be pessimistic and have a plan B for everything. The same is true with your email sequences. You always want to assume that a sizable portion of people will not open an email.
This is why marketers will have a backup email that gets sent if a person doesn’t open the first email. This email typically asks them why they didn’t open the previous email and encourages them to open the new email.
Now obviously, it would be overkill to have a “backup” email for every email you send. However, when it comes to your highest ROI emails, you always want to do this. And the welcome email is probably one of the most important emails you will ever send. So it’s just smart practice to give people two chances at the welcome experience.
With our automation builder this is extremely easy. Just create an automation, let’s say “welcome automation” that sends new subscribers a welcome email. Then, as the next step put a condition that checks if they opened the welcome email.
If they didn’t open the welcome email, send them a “second chance” welcome email. If they opened the welcome email, send them to whatever should follow your welcome experience. In most cases this will be an onboarding sequence. You could build the onboarding flow right in the same automation, or have it as a separate automation.
Extra tip: If you want to segment people further based on their actions and interactions with the welcome email or other criteria, it’s best to have onboarding sequences as separate automations. Just insert another condition that splits people and adds them to a different list (which would trigger the onboarding sequence you need).
Utilize a quality email platform
In order to apply these best practices and get the most out of your welcome emails, you need more than just an understanding of how to welcome subscribers. In fact, you could have the best welcoming process in the world, yet a competitor with inferior welcome emails can get more engagement than you.
How? Simple. They’re using a better email service to actually send those emails. And when we say better, there are some very crucial distinctions here that are not obvious. In fact, when people choose an email platform they often focus on the wrong things. They look at things that “look cool” and sound “fancy”, completely foregoing the criteria which ensure you maximize the return-on-investment from actually sending those emails.
Let’s say that you’re shopping around for email service providers, and you run into a platform that makes bold promises. Apparently, they’re the only platform to utilize nasa-level machine learning artificial intelligence to help you decide which content to send to which person.
Unless you’re a fortune 500 company, you’re unlikely to derive additional benefits from such cutting edge tricks. Further however, you have to realize that for every fancy feature that gets developed, it means that they’re neglecting foundational stuff. The kind of stuff that is responsible for most of your returns in email marketing.
So what is this “foundational stuff” that gives the highest returns in email marketing?
There are a couple of things, but the biggest one is how they handle delivery. It means that your service provider has to actually care about emails actually getting delivered and arriving in your subscriber’s inbox.
If you’re like most people, this statement might surprise you or even shock you. In fact, when most people discover the topic of “email deliverability”, they’re shocked to learn it isn’t the industry standard.
When you actually find out that it has the biggest impact on how much money you actually make from your email list, you will wonder “why isn’t everyone prioritizing it?”. Well, that’s simple. Most profit in running services is made from the newbies. The people who fall for the fancy bells and whistles.
Unfortunately, it takes people a couple of years of doing email marketing before people realize that the basics are where most of the profit lies, and that the fancy latest features don’t impact the bottom line too much.
It’s a hard realization for most when they discover that they’ve been losing out on a ton of profits because many of their emails failed to reach those inboxes. That’s a pivotal moment at which these email marketing veterans choose to switch to Emercury and see immediate boosts in their bottom line.
Now, the good news is that you were fortunate enough to read this article. So you don’t have to go through the same journey and come back to us only after you have a million strong email list.